November 17, 2004

The RINO King and the Mulligan Man

Nick Coleman longs for the bad old days.

As Dinesh D'Souza wrote in his biography of Reagan, there was a time when the GOP was just a rump of the Democrat party; slightly less statist, slightly less pro-tax, marginally less one-world oriented.

Barry Goldwater changed that, of course, and Reagan took the idea national.

Well - almost national. The Minnesota GOP didn't follow until the mid-nineties. For an extra twenty years, the Minnesota Republican Party remained stuck in the era of Gerald Ford and Nelson Rockefeller.

It had one "advantage": It was a time when Demcrats (so goes the legend peddled by the likes of Lori Sturdevant and Nick Coleman) felt very comfortable around Republicans - as well they should. They were virtually indistinguishable from Democrats.

The 2002 elections changed that. As former governor Elmer Anderson's death shows, Nick Coleman just can't let go.

In today's column, Coleman :

In 2002, Pawlenty, the endorsed Republican candidate for governor, visited Elmer at his home in Arden Hills to ask for Elmer's endorsement. As always, Elmer was a gracious host, offering his guest coffee and cookies and listening politely as Pawlenty made his case. Then Elmer looked Pawlenty in the eye and said, No, Tim, I won't endorse you. More coffee?

Elmer said no because Pawlenty had bowed before the antitax lobby and pledged never to raise taxes, no matter how dire a financial crunch Minnesota found itself in, no matter what services might have to be cut. To Elmer L. Andersen, such a pledge was counter to the spirit of public service.

Catch that?

Elmer Anderson believed the public was better "served" by making sure the gravy kept going out; fiscal responsbility (as in responsibility to the taxpayer) be damned. "Take care of the luxuries, and the necessities will take care of themselves".

"He asked me for endorsement, and I didn't give it," Elmer told me after Pawlenty took office. "Pawlenty acts like he has a mandate from the election to cut taxes, but I beg to disagree. The election was an aberration caused by a tragic accident."

Elmer was referring to the death of Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone in a plane crash 10 days before the 2002 election. While many Republicans viewed the victories of Pawlenty and Sen. Norm Coleman as proof of their genius, Elmer Andersen saw it only as proof that the Republicans were lucky: An airplane had crashed, and they were lucky enough not to be on it.

Let's step back for a moment, to last week's churlish, angry rant about the stupidity of the American voter. The Republicans won the presidency. But Coleman took time out from defaming the citizens of Alabama and all Republicans to say:
Yes, George Bush won another term with 51 percent of the vote, which he believes gives him a mandate to stop being Mr. Nice Guy and start getting tough on Social Security.

But not in Minnesota, Red.

Minnesota stayed blue, as it has for 12 straight presidential elections, except the one CREEP stole for Tricky Dick in 1972.

Again, so what? Bush won, and he won decisively. A real man would admit it, and get on with his life.

And now, this: Pawlenty and Coleman, in Nick Coleman's special little world, don't really count because of the plane crash.

Question to Nick Coleman; do you think Elmer Anderson would have spent this much time and churlish energy trying to debase and peck away at the legitimate, verified winners of an election?

Is that part of that precious "Minnesota way" whose passing you and all other DFL pundits mourn every time you meet a Republican who didn't leave his conservative cojones on Mike Erlandson's desk? Try - in your own pathetic, shrill way, granted - to delegitimize the election by grabbing at such irrelevant straws?

Unfortunately, we don't seem to elect leaders like him anymore, either.
Buck up, little camper. What would you bitch about if it weren't for us?

Posted by Mitch at November 17, 2004 06:57 AM | TrackBack

"Minnesota stayed blue, as it has for 12 straight presidential elections, except the one CREEP stole for Tricky Dick in 1972."

I'm curious what Nick meant by this little trow-away lie. What did Nixon do to "steal" the election in 1972? Watergate had nothing to do with his landslide victory, so what is Coleman referring to? Other than a GOP victory in Minnesota is, by definition, illegitimate.

Posted by: JamesPh at November 17, 2004 08:48 AM

The "Stuff" Nick Coleman knows seems to be that anti-tax, pro-gun Republicans are evil and greedy.

Posted by: Mark at November 17, 2004 11:58 AM

I noticed that Gov. Palenty compared Elmer to Jimmy Carter in today's PP. That, I think, speaks volumes no matter the context.

Posted by: paddy at November 17, 2004 02:47 PM